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Former VFW leader now charged with sexually exploiting a child
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Former VFW leader now charged with sexually exploiting a child

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Federal Courthouse

The Federal Courthouse in Rapid City.

A former VFW leader is accused of sexually exploiting a child. The new charge comes after he was accused of attempting to meet a girl — really a fake child created by an undercover agent — for sex.

Adam Swift, 30, was indicted earlier this month on two charges of sexually exploiting a minor between September 2017 and September 2018 in Box Elder. 

In both charges, Swift is accused of making a minor engage in sexual conduct in order to take photos or videos of the act and share it. It’s unclear if the charges relate to one or two children.

Swift is the former commander of VFW Post 1273 in downtown Rapid City and the former judge advocate for the South Dakota VFW. The state and national VFW removed Swift's membership after an investigation into the allegations, said South Dakota VFW Commander Cody Mangold.

Swift is also charged with attempting to entice a minor for sexual activity via the internet in March 2020. He’s accused of trying to meet up with a five-year-old girl — really a fake child created by an undercover Homeland Security agent — to have sex with her and a real minor.

He's charged with distributing child porn for allegedly sending multiple images to an undercover FBI agent this February. Finally, Swift is charged with receiving child porn for allegedly downloading materials from the internet between August 2018 and March 2020.

Swift came under investigation after he contacted the undercover FBI agent on the Kik messaging app in February, according to an affidavit signed by Brent Gromer, supervisor of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) unit in South Dakota.

Swift allegedly said he was sexually active with a 4- and 7-year-old boy and sent the agent videos of a man sexually abusing a child.

The New York-based agent contacted the FBI in Rapid City who asked ICAC to continue the investigation, the affidavit says. A Homeland Security agent then began messaging Swift on Kik, posing as a woman who sexually abuses her five-year-old daughter.

Swift allegedly told the second agent that he wanted to arrange a “swap” where he would sexually abuse the five-year-old and bring a child for the woman. 

The agent met Swift at his workplace on March 24 to discuss plans. Instead, the agent had Swift arrested.

Swift let agents seize his cellphone and laptop, the affidavit says. He allegedly admitted to Gromer that it was him chatting with the agents but said he had never really planned to have sex with the five-year-old and that he hadn’t sexually abused one of the children he had mentioned to the agents.

Swift, who has pleaded not guilty to all charges, is detained at the Pennington County Jail. He will go to trial on Sept. 22 unless he reaches a plea deal by Sept. 4.

Update: This story has been updated with a comment from the current commander of the South Dakota VFW 

— Contact Arielle Zionts at arielle.zionts@rapidcityjournal.com

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